Fremantle’s round five clash with Brisbane on Saturday at Fremantle Oval marked the end of an 11-game winning streak for Freo’s AFLW side - their first loss in 736 days.
And, while a loss is never fun, Fremantle captain Kara Antonio can be forgiven for taking it a little harder when it fell on the same day as her birthday.
Freo’s inspirational leader turned 29 on Saturday, but instead of belting out the team song, Antonio had to settle for an 11-point defeat.
Although the mood lifted as senior coach Trent Cooper got up to make an announcement to after the final siren (something that has become all too familiar this season) to Antonio and her teammates.
The round six fixture had just dropped – a second RAC Derby was only eight days away.
“It’s definitely my favourite game of the year!” Antonio told 6PR’s The Twilight Zone.
“We are really excited to have another opportunity to take on the Eagles in an RAC Derby.
“We are lucky enough to have two this year, so we definitely won’t waste it and we’ll rock up ready to go.
“For WA fans of both sides as well, I think they will be pretty excited.”
Set your reminders! Tickets for the RAC Derby double header go on sale Wednesday 3 March (12pm for members, 3pm for general public)
While the last meeting of the two teams only four rounds ago was a rained out and scrappy affair, thankfully, conditions are looking better for the weekend ahead.
“The first thing I did was check the weather!” Antonio said.
“I think it’s going to be 29 or 30 degrees and no rain…it was not fun to play in a few weeks back for both teams and I’d imagine not a nice game to watch either on TV.”
It’s clear that the competitive streak is still alive and well for Antonio, as she prepares to pull on the boots for her 33rd career AFLW game this weekend.
Despite the Brisbane loss putting a dampener on birthday celebrations, it didn’t extinguish the pride that Antonio carries for her teammates and her love of a club that bleeds purple.
“(It was) not the birthday that I wanted, the win would’ve been nice but as I said to the girls after the game, I am really proud of the last season and a half that we have had,” Antonio said.
“To win 11 on the trot, you don’t see that very often.
“I’d rather lose with the group that we’ve got down at Fremantle, than win it with any other team.
“I’m really proud to lead them out every single week …we’re a strong resilient group and we’re ready to take on the Eagles on Sunday, it should be a blockbuster.”